One of Africa’s leading think tanks and civil society groups, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has called on authorities in Nigeria to enforce stiffer measures against those involved in vote buying in the country’s elections.
CDD stated this at its final observation report on the just concluded Ondo State election, and said impunity continues to encourage vote buying in Nigeria’s electoral system.
“There is impunity, even when you see police officers at a polling unit vote buyers carry out their activities without fear. How many vote buyers have been prosecuted?
“We continue to say that the core mandate of the police have not been done, if during that election at least a hundred vote buyers were arrested it is going to send a very strong message and serve as a deterrent so this electoral impunity is what we have to deal with,” the group said.
Adele Jinadu, head of CDD election analysis centre, and Idayat Hassan, CDD director, who presented the report however expressed satisfaction with the general conduct of Ondo State election and said the exercise was an improvement on what was recorded in Edo state.
“These dimensions of the election in Ondo state are noteworthy when set against the background of the typical hostile environment of competitive party and electoral politics in the country, characterised by intra-party fissures and acrimonious inter-party disputes that are both capable of degenerating into violent conflicts before and on election day,” CDD said.
The group commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for uploading election results on its portal but also recommend that the commission add to the results viewing portal to tabulate the results in real time.
“In the case of the Ondo election, as in the case of Edo, the results were processed within about seven to eight hours of the close of polls. CDD recommends that, going forward, INEC should continue to enhance not only the results management process, but also the electoral process in general.
“Towards this end, it will be important to begin focusing on the need for the replacement or upgrade of equipment such as the SCRs, or, indeed looking for better, multifunctional equipment that can encompass the entire process from the registration of new voters through to the processing of results.”
“There remains a great deal of improvement to carry out in the management and conduct of election in the country, while the structural and cultural anchors of competitive party and electoral politics in the country is hugely problematic and more aggressively addressed through the nurture of civic-minded citizens determined to defend the electoral process and act as permanent guardrails against democratic reversals,“ the group observed.
In the recently concluded Ondo state election incumbent governor Rotimi Akeredolu, and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was declared winner by INEC.
By Abel Ejikeme